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Glossary of Interior Fit-out & Office Refurbishment Terms

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Heineken Reception

Schal Offices

M & S Meeting Room

Cariplo Dealing Room

Cariplo Reception

Executive Offices

NHSC Reception

NHSC Open Plan Area

Monarch Open Plan

Monarch Breakout



A process to determine the exact space requirements and needs of an office occupier, including: storage, breakout space, private offices, meeting rooms, AV, AC, IT, alarms, access security, etc. 


Air conditioning

Acoustic Attenuation

Reduce noise levels between areas



2D Drawing

A two-dimensional drawing usually showing layouts of workstations, lighting, ceilings, etc.

3D Drawing

A three dimensional lifelike drawing often produced from a two-dimensional drawing using sophisticated software, or alternatively hand drawn.

Blocking and Stacking Diagram

A plan of where departments will be situated within a building.

Break Out Space

An area designed for staff to meet or relax away from their desks, ideally equipped with informal seating, tables and refreshment facilities.

Budget Investment Report

A report listing what is involved in a project and how much it will cost to complete.

Building Regulation Approval

An approval that the drawings submitted conform to the current Building Regulations, given by a local authority or qualified person.


Computer Aided Design.

Cat A

Office space fitted out to a standard where toilets, lifts etc. are operational and décor neutral.

Cat B

Office space fitted out ready for occupancy by staff, with all furniture and décor complete.


The Construction (Design & Management) Regulations 2007 (CDM 2007) came into force on

6th April 2007. Objectives:

  • Improve health and safety in the construction industry.
  • Have the right people for the right job at the right time to manage the risks on site.
  • Focus on effective planning and managing risk - manage the risk not the paperwork.


The refurbishment of space that is already in use, but a change of use or more efficient use of space is required.

Clear Desk Policy

When all personal items must be returned to storage at the end of a period of use of a workstation.

Common Parts

Space within a building used by all staff / tenants, such as main reception, stairwells and wash rooms.


Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (c. 50)

An Act to make it unlawful to discriminate against disabled persons in connection with employment, the provision of goods, facilities and services or the disposal or management of premises; to make provision about the employment of disabled persons; and to establish a National Disability Council.

Decant Space (also known as Swing Space)

An area, either in the same building or an alternative location, where staff can be temporarily housed while work is undertaken.

Decibel rating, e.g., 45dB Rw.

What does the term Rw mean when it appears after a decibel rating i.e.: 45dB Rw

This was set out under the British Standards in order to harmonise the comparison of products that were acoustically tested. The term Rw refers to the "Weighted Sound Reduction Index" and this is a figure calculated for a set of results measured over a specific set of frequencies that are "Weighted" to most closely represent the normal response of the human ear to sound. In America the standard is called the Sound Transmission Class (suffix STC) and is calculated over a slightly wider frequency range using a similar principle.

Defects Liability Period

The time span following completion of a project that the main contractor is responsible for any defects/snags.

Demountable (as in partitions, access floors & suspended ceilings, etc.)

Easy to dismantle and re-erect.

Design and Build

A fit-out or refurbishment project where the design and construction are undertaken by the same company.

Detail and Build

A fit-out project where work is undertaken from a client’s specification and a design team is not required.

Environmental Compliance

Keeping up with ever changing rules & regulations to ensure compliance on sites.

Fire Risk Assessment

(See RRFSO below)


A tradesman responsible for controlling specific sections of the work.


A project to develop an internal space into a state fit for its intended use.

Floor Box

A terminal with sockets for power, data and telephone connections.

H & S. E.

Health & Safety Executive

Health & Safety Manual

A manual containing details of all products used in the construction and information on subsequent maintenance procedures required.


Heating, ventilation and air conditioning.

Hot Desk

A shared desk space, not allocated with one permanent user.

Letter of Intent

A letter confirming that it is the intention of the client to enter into a contract, usually subject to conditions.

Lump Sum Tender (or Single Stage Tendering)

A contractor’s proposal for a project giving an overall cost for all works.

M & E Services (Mechanical and Electrical)

Work involving heating, air conditioning, power and lighting etc.

Main Contractor

The company that undertakes the planning, co-ordination and management of a project.

Move Management

The co-ordination and management of moving staff and/or equipment between offices and/or sites.


To instruct the main fit-out contractor to use the services of a particular professional.

O & M (Operating and Maintenance Manual)

An instruction manual, kept on site, for services that have been installed on site.

Open Book

An agreement where all costs (and cost savings) are completely transparent between the principle contractor and the client often used when the costs are likely to fluctuate and the profit for the contractor is pre-agreed.

Planning Consent

A consent given by a local authority to construct a new structure or make visible changes to an existing structure, or change the use of a building.

Practical Completion

The day when a project is fit for beneficial use by the client.

Project Manager

The person responsible for the day-to-day running of a project.

Principal Contractor

The contractor responsible for health and safety during works, usually the main contractor.

Refurbishment (Refurb)

A project to renew space that has been used at some time, either to be renewed for a similar purpose or to prepare it for a change of use.


The re-design and fit-out of existing office space to allow for an increased number of occupants.


Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order made in June 2005 was due to come into force in April 2006 was deferred to October 2006 to give businesses and stakeholders more time to prepare. Fire Certificates are to be abolished and will cease to have legal status.

Instead, if responsible for a business premises, an employer, self-employed with business premises, a charity or voluntary organization or contractor with a degree of control over any premises, then fire precautions will need to be put in place “where necessary” – to extent that is reasonable and practical in the circumstances of the case.

Schedule of Condition

The document describing the condition of a building at the beginning of a lease.

Schedule of Dilapidations

The document describing the state of disrepair of a building which the landlord or tenant must put right at the end of a lease.

Scope of Works

Written details of all works involved in a project.

Site Manager

A permanent foreman on site to co-ordinate and take responsibility for day to day site management, including health and safety.

Space Audit

The process where information about an organisation is gathered and analysed to produce a plan for accommodating staff.

Strip Out

The removal of internal fixtures and finishes from a building.


A specialist company or tradesman employed by the principal contractor to carry out works.


The process and documents used by a client to select a principle contractor for a project.

Touchdown Station

A workstation available for short periods of work with access to email etc.

Traditional Tendering

A fit-out or refurbishment where the client appoints a design team, a project management team and other professionals and the contractor is finally selected by means of a tendering process.

Two Stage Tender

First amount tendered will reflect the principal contractor’s management fee only for the project. The principal contractor is then appointed on this basis and the second stage tendering will then include sub-contractors costs for works.

Turnkey Project

Where all elements of a project are supplied through one company.

Variation Order (V.O.)

Wherever there is an alteration or amendment to a previously agreed design, layout or construction detail on site, the Contract Administrator (CA) will issue a VO to the contractor  responsible for carrying out the works along with a request for additional costs (if any) for including the works within the agreed programme. (Copied to client)

WEEE Directive

  • What is the WEEE Directive?
    The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive has been introduced by Government to reduce the impact of electronic equipment on the environment once it becomes waste. The main purpose of the directive is to encourage recycling and to set criteria for the collection, treatment, recycling and the recovery of all waste electrical items. The aim is to increase recycling and to reduce the amount of waste for disposal.
  • When did the legislation come into effect?
    The WEEE Directive was fully implemented in August 2005.
  • How will the WEEE Directive affect commercial users?
    All businesses and organisations should, as end users, be supporting the WEEE Directive by implementing recycling practices. If any electrical items found to be dumped are traced back to your company you may face prosecution under the Environmental Protection Act.

    As a company, you have a Duty of Care when it comes to disposal of your waste. This is actually a law which states you must take all reasonable steps to keep waste safe. If you give waste to someone else, you must be sure they are authorised to transport, recycle or dispose of it safely. Failure to do so can result in an unlimited fine for your company.

With more than 35 years experience in the industry, including projects for BT, Esure, Heineken, Home Office, Marks & Spencer, NHS Confederation, Royal Automobile Club & Schal, among others, WFA are expert at planning, implementing and managing ALL elements of corporate relocation and interior fit-out & refurbishment from start to finish - allowing clients to get on with what they do best - making profits for their own business!

For a friendly, helpful chat about how we can help you to avoid the many hidden pitfalls of an office relocation, office fitout or full office refurbishment - incorporating the latest in cutting-edge design - call us FREE on 0800 458 6578 or email: info@whiteheadfrancis.co.uk

For further information on this topic follow the below links:

Office Fit Out Project Management

Office Design Ideas

Office Relocation Management


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